February 27, 2011
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Ramblings. Rest stop in Iowa. 1997. Saturday, or maybe it’s Sunday.

Today is the second day that I’ve seen him. I think maybe I should walk over, take his hand, smile. Maybe even speak. I’d say “I’ve been lonely for a very long time.”, and somehow he would understand. Maybe not speak, no words at all. No words are good too.

In my eyes, he would see past hazel flecks, reach inside to my deepest layers, and pull them back like fragile fingernail peelings. He’d know that I like puzzles, and coffee with dinner, but not breakfast. He’d know that I was in need of something, but had yet to discover what. He would read these things, simply by the blink of my eyes, the twitch of my nose, if I were to raise an eyebrow, He seems like this type of man, with his baseball cap, and dirty Levi’s. The kind of man who’s never owned a suit and tie in his life. Or, even more intriguing, maybe the kind who once wore only suit and tie, masquerading in up kept society for a period. This being a comfort he traded in for the rustic feel of the small life. Traveling aimlessly. Unless, he does have an aim?

My travels have a point, I suppose. If going to visit my dying mother, and what ails her, serves as such. I just needed fresh air, my real excuse for this journey. Mother knows I don’t love her, we’re not that type of family.

I’m reading a book about the universe, about evolving.

The back of the cover reads “written in Layman’s terms for the nonscientist.”

But, even I, the non-scientist, can not comprehend these terms of “protons and positrons”, “neutrinos”. and “antimatter”. I’d like to meet Layman and discuss his terms.

However, in one chapter, squeezed somewhere unimportantly between the pages, is a paragraph that tells how all matter is born from within the furnaces of stars.

We are made of stardust.

I imagine being created from with in the womb of some luminary being, erupting from her cavity in a showering of vivid particles. My body molds from the sprinkling of a thousand bits of moons and planets, and I am beautiful. This thought makes me happy, and I imagine Levi’s and I twirling on galaxies, hand tied in hand. I tear out the page, and fold it into a tiny triangle shape before sliding it into the safety of my glove compartment.

Rising from my car, I begin walking towards the Information & Resources office at the top of the hill. Mrs. Lopez, the tiny Mexican- American woman behind the Information counter has been loaning me books for the almost four days that I’ve been parked in my car here. I’m sure she won’t mind if there’s a single missing page from her book. She won’t even notice, most likely.

There are thick wooden boards nailed into the wall of the office, where she houses her collection of mismatched literature. Things like Fire in the Heart, true life stories of people being struck down by lighting, and surviving. Survivors. And, The Lives of Medieval Women (survivors, in their own right), which she encourages me to take every time I see her. But, I don’t, because it looks depressing. And, not in the good kind of way.

As, I am walking, stepping over broken cans, I listen to the sounds around me. Birds fight, children’s laughter falls light on the ground, like crushed pecan shells. I reach a small cut through in the park, and turn left. The Information & Resources office is to the right. But, I feel pulled in this direction. Or, maybe I just want to walk more, to breath fresh air deep into my sore lungs. Later on, when I recap this story in my mind the reasons for my turning left, not right, will vary.

Half way into my exploration of this side of the park, I see Levi’s tucked far away into the corner of the path, sitting on an obscure boulder, legs crossed like a wiry crow. He’s got a book in his hands, but he’s not reading. My feet crunch on a few scattered acorn shells, and the noise makes him lift his head. He looks up, takes in my cut off shorts and Birkenstocks, then smiles.



“How you doing?”

“Fine. Yourself?”

Titillating conversation.

“Good. Have a seat?”

He gestures towards an inch of bare rock. I smile, and accept his invitation for company.

“What are you doing out here?” I question, not really interested, but looking for something to converse over. My palms are sweating, being this near him. I raise my eyes and above the fringe of my eyelashes, look out at the sky turning to dusk. He answers me.

“Waiting on the fireflies.” I pause.

“You’re what?”

“Waiting on the fireflies? Tonight’s the first night of summer.”

I nod, like I actually know what he’s talking about. He sits patiently, like he knows that I don’t quite understand yet. “You’ll see, just trust me.” He tells me, and already I do. I trust him. A few moments pass, as the sun makes it’s slow descent into the Earth, and allows the moon to replace it. Then, above our heads begins the twinkling of a million, it seems, tiny lights. The fireflies.

“Look at that.” He points towards a firefly glowing orange above our heads. I smile.

“That’s the first firefly of summer.” He tells me. I wonder how he know this, since there are so many, but I play along.

“Why are these important?” I ask, only afterwards realizing I might have come across sounding snide. His answer surprises me.

“My mother used to tell us that they’re the souls of the dead, searching for their lost mates. That every night, during the summer months, thousands and thousands of fireflies scour the Earth, until finally they are reunited with their missing other halves. This way their love never dies. My mother believed in things like eternal love.” I look up into his face.

Chiseled cheeks, beard scruff. Blue eyes. Of course, blue eyes.

I tell him, “That’s a beautiful story.” And, he grants me with a warm smile.

“Do you believe in things like long lost mates?”

I look down at him, this man I do not know. This man I call Levi’s, and have never spoken to, until this moment. And, I feel my stomach stirring .

I do the only rational thing. Lie.

“No. I don’t believe I do.” And, with my lie, I force myself to rise, and ready myself to leave. Confusion plays over his face. He looks at me, like an injured dog. Like he’s lost some sort of game. He opens his mouth, and I know he is about to ask what he has done wrong. “Why are you leaving, where are you going?” He will question, and I will have answers for neither. So, I turn my back on him, and walk five feet away, ten feet, fifteen, thirty five feet.

Yet, thirty five feet into it, I can go no further. I feel his eyes glued to my back, and I turn back around to face him. His mouth twitches in uncertainty, then a quirky smile. His eyes hold confusion, and I’m sure mine are no different. I return to the rock, and bend down until my face is so close to his that I can read the tiny lines trailing along the corners of his eyes. They don’t tell happy stories. I cup my hand against his cheek, and his skin is warm. He is surprised by my abrupt change of attitude. I am as well.

I take in every pore and fiber of his face, this man I call Levi‘s, and will myself to learn every bit of him. I run my tongue slowly across his bottom lip, then curl my entire mouth around his own. I feel his hands rise, fingers knot into my hair, pulling me down, taking me in closer to him.

I force myself back, and step away.

“I didn’t have the kind of mother who taught me about fireflies.” I tell him, and walk away. More than thirty five feet this time. I do not look back, nor do I desire to.

I finally return Mrs. Lopez her book, and in her choppy tongue, she asks if I will be staying on another night. I tell her I don’t believe so, that I think it is time for me go. She nods, she understands.

I retreat to my parked car, my home for the last week and a half. I pause in the driver’s seat for a moment, key in ignition, hand in position to crank. For a moment, I think I want to stay in this place. But, I don’t. I open my glove compartment, and retrieve my folded book page. I tuck it into my pocket, it makes me feel secure, and I imagine a hundred years from now, Levi’s and I bumping into each other, amidst a swarm of fireflies, and smiling, because we know.

Then I drive away.

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This article has 2 comments. Post your own now!

Moshu said...
Mar. 4, 2011 at 1:48 pm
This is really deep and well-written.
lizabeffie replied...
Mar. 10, 2011 at 10:35 pm
Thank you so much!!
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